Leslie Gerber

The End of Life in My Neighborhood

Early this summer I thrilled
at the sight of a glaring orange newt.
August, and I haven’t seen another.

Bears hit the bird feeder early,
drought chasing them
from their comfortable mountains.

In the back yard last fall at dusk
I saw a bat silhouetted against the darkening sky.
I had not seen one in years
and since then I have not seen another.

There are still a few frogs.
I see some leap.
More often I see one squashed.

On this short road
one of the houses emptied by cancer
is now sort of occupied.
Her son is keeping it
for occasional weekends.

The other cancer house
at the end of the street
is still empty.
Even the For Sale signs are gone.

My next door neighbor
is so discouraged by politics
he even talks to me about it.
We become closer.

Last night I heard the author
of a book about how the human race
will make itself extinct. If it happens
fast enough, the last of us
might get to see bats again.


Leslie Gerber was born in Brooklyn in 1943. After a long career as a classical music reviewer, he began writing poetry in 1999. He has featured at Woodstock Poetry Society, Mezzaluna Writer’s Night, CAPS in Beacon, Harmony in Woodstock, and the UUCC poetry series in Kingston. He lives in Woodstock with his wife and two dogs.

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